3, 2, 1…and in the room. It would appear I’m back, although I’m not entirely sure. And before you ask, I’ve not been at those lovely mushrooms in the field below the barn…No, it’s simply the after-effects of listening to The Smoke Fairies. I should warn you; it’s potent stuff. I came across them at the recommendation of that ‘perfect electrometer’ Richard Hawley only yesterday (1). Before I knew it I was on myspace and diving into ‘Living with Ghosts.’ I quickly realised that this music is all about doubles. Two (extraordinary looking) women, two guitars, two voices. Although Jessica and Katherine don’t look alike, it sounds as if their voices are from the same wellspring and their two guitars (one of them slide) like one guitar. It’s as though they’re a split tree, cut almost to the root, and the tree is singing and breathing with two uncannily matched voices. We’re definitely in the realm of the spirits here: dryads, perhaps… although despite the tree analogy I’ve been at pains to set up, there’s also something of a ‘deep deep well’ or a forest pool about their sound (are they naiads or dryads or some kind of sophisticated hybrid?). Man, they’re dangerous: they could lead you underwater and drown you and you wouldn’t care. You’d hardly feel anything but a kind of bliss– a melancholy bliss, but a kind of ecstasy nonetheless. ‘In my mind we still live there,’ they sigh on ‘Living with Ghosts, ‘ and you know that this is a band that wants to tug you away from outer realities and into inner space. Let them boldly go, and for a long time too, and far. I’ll be there for the ride. Any chance of playing Stratford or Oxford, ladies?
(1) Hawley had glowing praise for them on his forum recently.